by Lice Lia-Ann Movono
Published on: Aug 24, 2005
Type: Opinions

Learning to Quit: Passive Smoke and You


My greatest struggle last week with smoking was dealing with when people around me smoking.

I have realized after almost seven months since quitting that accepting that one of the biggest challenges will be the fact some of your closest friends will not always be considerate of your wish to not inhale the 4000 different chemicals that is in one roll of cigarette.

Early in my efforts to quit, the counselors at the Fiji Cancer Society who are usually also on hand to give advice about quitting had told me that quitting the stick means a whole new lifestyle.

It means that for one thing you will not be able to continue to go to all of the gatherings you used to enjoy, especially if they involve Kava or alcohol, which are two substances normally associated with smoking.

On the weekend, I realized one very important message that you need to know about if you have quit or are thinking about it: you will need to be strong and be forewarned that even after you quit, you might sometimes be a passive or second hand smoker if you have friends who smoke.

The British Medical Association says that passive or second hand smokers will be the recipients of 85 per cent of the gases which come out of one person’s roll.

Only 15% of smoke from a cigarette is inhaled by the smoker. The other 85% goes directly into the air and is known as second hand smoke, the British Medical Association says on its website.

Second hand smoke is a combination of mainstream smoke, the smoke inhaled and then breathed out and side-stream smoke, the smoke coming from the cigarette between puffs.

The scary thing is that side-stream smoke has more tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide and other chemicals that cause cancer than the smoke inhaled through the cigarette itself!

According to the British Medical Association says that all second-hand smoke contains cancer-causing chemicals!

Passive smoking is the breathing in of the second-hand smoke produced by other people's cigarettes. So, it is a matter of knowing when and how to say no. It is a matter of establishing that rule for yourself, the rule to allow people to pollute your air or not.

I cleaned up my flat just hours before sitting down to ponder over which of my “quit smoking” challenges to write about and share.

Neither the broom I used nor the lavender fragrance I sprayed all over the house afterwards did any good because the smell of cigarettes from Saturday night’s grog session stubbornly stayed.

Once you decided to quit, think about how you are going to cross this bridge when you get to it.

I am still standing at the start of the bridge and wondering how I am to deal with the fact that despite that I live in a non-smoking house, I do have very close friends and family who smoke incessantly and will come by for gatherings and parties, once in a while.

Next week, we look at ways that other people have managed to create a complete smoke-free world for themselves.


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